We all try to maintain good health but despite our efforts, there are times when we do fall sick.
When that happens, there is nothing more frustrating than not being able to describe the state of our condition especially when we are in a foreign country where English is not frequently spoken.
When you are not feeling well, your first instinct may be to say “病気(びょうき)です byooki desu” (I’m sick).
However, byooki is often used for serious illness which occurs over a long period, certainly not a word you would use if you are just temporarily feeling unwell.
Let’s look at some Japanese expressions we should know to describe various states of health.
1. ちょっと具合(ぐあい)が悪(わる)いです Chotto guai ga warui desu
I feel a bit sick
If you just feel under the weather and cannot pinpoint exactly the source of unwell, you can use this phrase. 具合(ぐあい)が悪(わる)い guai ga warui means “ill, sick, not in good shape, malfunction”.
It can be used to refer to people or things. If you are feeling better, then you can say 具合(ぐあい)がいい guai ga ii (in good shape).
2. あまり体調(たいちょう)が良(よ)くないです Amari taichoo ga yokunai desu
I’m not feeling very well
This expression is similar to the above in that you generally feel unwell but you cannot pinpoint the exact source. 体調(たいちょう) taichoo means “physical condition”.
The difference between this expression and the previous one is that the former can only be used to refer to people.
3. 頭(あたま)が痛(いた)いです Atama ga itai desu
I have a headache
頭(あたま) atama means “head” and 痛(いた)い itai means “painful” or “in pain”. So literally, this expression means “my head is in pain”.
Similarly, you can replace the word atama with any body part to indicate pain in that corresponding body part.
4. お腹(なか)が痛(いた)いです Onaka ga itai desu
I have a stomachache
お腹(なか) onaka means “stomach”. This means “my stomach is in pain”.
5. 喉(のど)が痛(いた)いです Nodo ga itai desu
I have a sore throat
喉(のど) nodo means “throat”. This means “my throat is in pain”.
6. 関節(かんせつ)が痛(いた)いです Kansetsu ga itai desu
I have joint pain
関節(かんせつ) kansetsu means “joints”. This means “my joints are in pain”.
7. 熱(ねつ)があります Netsu ga arimasu
I have a fever
熱(ねつ) netsu means “fever”. The expression “~ ga arimasu” means “I have ~”. You can replace netsu with any other condition that you may have.
8. 39度(ど)の熱(ねつ)があります Sanjuukyuu do no netsu ga arimasu
I have a fever of 39 degrees.
To describe the exact temperature of your fever, you can say “~ do no netsu” (a fever of ~ degrees).
9. 食欲(しょくよく)がありません Shokuyoku ga arimasen
I don’t have an appetite
If you say “~ ga arimasen”, it means that you “do not have ~”. 食欲(しょくよく) shokuyoku means “appetite”.
10. 咳(せき)が出(で)ます Seki ga demasu
I have a cough
咳(せき) seki means “cough”. The expression “~ ga demasu” means “~ is excreted or expelled out of the body”.
You can replace seki with any other condition that you may have.
11. 鼻水(はなみず)が出(で)ます Hanamizu ga demasu
I have a running nose
鼻水(はなみず) hanamizu literally means “nose water”. In this case, it refers to a running nose.
12. 寒(さむ)けがします Samuke ga shimasu
I feel chilly
寒(さむ)け samuke means “chill”. The expression “~ ga shimasu” means “I feel ~”. You can replace samuke with any other sensation you may feel at the current time.
13. 吐(は)き気(け)がします Hakike ga shimasu
I feel nauseous
吐(は)き気(け) hakike means “nausea”.
14. めまいがします Memai ga shimasu
I feel giddy
めまい memai means “giddy”.
15. 下痢(げり)をしています Geri o shiteimasu
I have diarrhea
Use this expression to mean you are having the runs.
16. 風邪(かぜ)を引(ひ)いています Kaze o hiiteimasu
I have a cold
If you have caught a cold, you can use this expression. 風邪(かぜ) kaze means “cold”. It can also mean “wind” with a different kanji (風(かぜ)).
17. 鼻(はな)が詰(つ)まります Hana ga tsumarimasu
I have a stuffed nose
鼻(はな) hana means nose. The expression “~ ga tsumarimasu” means “to become blocked or clogged with”.
Use this expression if you have a stuffed nose.
18. 痰(たん)がたくさん詰(つ)まります Tan ga takusan tsumarimasu
I have lots of phlegm
This expression is similar to the above. It literally means you are clogged with phlegm.
19. 生理痛(せいりつう)です Seeritsuu desu
I have menstrual cramps
生理(せいり) seeri means “menstruation period”. 痛(つう) tsu means “pain”.
In some Japanese companies, female employees are allowed to apply for menstruation leave (生理休暇(せいりきゅうか) seeri kyuuka) but in reality, few do.
20. 腰痛(ようつう)です Yootsuu desu
I have a backache
腰(よう) yoo means “waist or lower back”. It is pronounced as “koshi” on its own.
You can also say 腰(こし)が痛(いた)いです koshi ga itai desu to mean you have a backache.
I hope you find this compiled list of common ailments useful to describe various health conditions you may have.
Still, stay healthy and hopefully, you will not have the need to use the expressions as much as possible.
I wish all of you good health.